The Beauty Around Us

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Chincoteague VA Vacation (2nd post)

We got up around 6:00 am on Saturday, April 16th. We watched the sunrise. 

Chincoteague Island Sunrise
What a glorious sunrise!

We drove to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and rode our bicycles.  We bicycled Wildlife Loop to Black Duck Trail to Woodland Trail, back on Black Duck Trail and finished Wildlife Loop.  We rode 7.04 miles. 

We saw a Snapping Turtle on a pond, while bicycling the Wildlife Loop.
Woodland Trail
This is the boardwalk to the pony overlook.

The highlight of our bicycle ride was ponies, lots of ponies, at the Woodland Trail pony overlook. 

I took the next picture, while we were on the Black Duck Trail, returning to the Wildlife Loop.

Bob on Black Duck Trail

We returned to AirBnb “Tranquil Shores” for a light lunch.  We watched an episode of “Vera” on BritBox, a new streaming service that we purchased recently.  I ended up taking a short nap.  

Around 4:00 pm we drove to Ray’s Shanty, where we ate dinner.  It was our first time eating dinner there.   Bob ordered a prime rib dinner; I ordered a fried shrimp dinner.  Both meals were delicious, and the service was excellent.

After dinner, we returned to Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.  We drove around the Wildlife Loop and then to the seashore and back.  We saw egrets, one great blue heron, snapping turtles, and four deer a long ways off.  I didn’t take any pictures, as I forgot to insert the memory card in my camera.  I had taken the card out to upload pictures onto my iPad that I had taken that morning.  

When we left the wildlife refuge, we drove downtown.  We stopped briefly at Robert Reed Waterfront Park, where we went for a short walk.  We, then, continued down Main Street to Beebe Road and made our way back to “Tranquil Shores” from there.  

We watched another episode of “Vera”.  It was around 9:15 pm, when that episode ended.  We went to bed shortly thereafter.

Mid-Week Getaway: Day 2 – Aitch and Trough Creek State Park

The morning of Wednesday, March 23, we did some sightseeing.  Our first stop was at Aitch, where an old railroad bed has been transformed into a fishing pier.  We parked in the parking area and walked across the fishing pier.

Aitch Fishing Pier
Aitch Fishing Pier

I read that Aitch is a great place for birdwatching.  We saw only seagulls.

Our second stop was at Copperas Rock in Trough Creek State Park. Copperas Rock is a large overhang along the Great Trough Creek. These rocks are located directly adjacent to the park road. 

Copperas Rocks
The colors of this overhang are caused
by the weathering of the iron in the rocks.
Copperas Rocks has a nice picnic area.
Signs were present that warned of falling rocks.
This picture shows the 2001 Rock Fall at Copperas Rocks.

Our next stop was at the Balanced Rock Trail. 

Balanced Rock is visible from the road
near the start of the Balanced Rock Trail.
Balanced Rock Trail Sign
This sign points the way to Balanced Rock.
The Balanced Rock Trail takes you over a suspension bridge
and past Rainbow Falls.

We walked over the Great Trough Creek, via a suspension bridge that moves as you walk across it. 

Balanced Rock Trail Suspension Bridge
Balanced Rock Trail Suspension Bridge

It started to rain.  We walked back over the bridge and returned to the car. 

I photographed Bob, as he walked back over the suspension bridge.

We plan to make a return trip to the park tomorrow.  The forecast is for better weather tomorrow morning and for most of the afternoon.

We left the park via forest roads and made our way to Mamie’s Cafe and Bakery in Martinsburg. 

I like the mural on the side of Mamie’s Cafe.

Mamie’s Cafe was recommended to us by our Airbnb hosts.  Bob ordered a toasted Reuben sandwich; I had a toasted ham and cheese sandwich.  Both sandwiches were served with a pickle and chips.  We walked out of the cafe with homemade no bake cookies.  This was a good recommendation. The food and service were excellent.

After lunch we returned to our Airbnb rental, where we stayed for rest of the afternoon and evening.  How did we spend our afternoon and evening?  Bob took a nap.  I uploaded a few pictures to Facebook.  I started reading a book on my Kindle.  For dinner we ate leftover fried chicken, pasta salad and potato salad.

Corning NY Mid-Week Getaway: Day 2 – Buttermilk Falls

We spent three nights the week of October 17th in Corning, NY. I wrote about our first day here.

On October 20th we visited a covered bridge in Newfield, NY and then drove to Ithaca, NY.

Our first stop in Ithaca was at Buttermilk Falls State Park, where we parked in the lower parking lot. We have the NY State Empire Pass, so we did not have to pay an entrance fee.

Buttermilk Falls is visible from the parking lot.
This view is only a few feet away from the parking lot.

I walked down to the red barrier seen in the above photograph.

Buttermilk Falls, as viewed from near the red barrier
A bridge crosses over the creek.
I took this picture of Buttermilk Falls from that bridge.
Buttermilk Falls is 165 ft high.

There is a gorge trail on the right side of the waterfall. We walked up a very short way on the trail.

Buttermilk Falls from the gorge trail

In addition to still pictures I took a couple videos that I sliced together and uploaded to YouTube.

We walked back our car and left for nearby Cascadilla Gorge (the subject of my next blog post).

Ohio Vacation Day 3 – Boston Mill Visitor Center (6/27/2021)

After our walk around Kendall Lake, we drove to the new Boston Mill Visitor Center. The visitor center is located at the southeast corner of Riverview and Boston Mills roads in the Village of Boston in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

I was attempting to take a selfie at this location,
as we were walking to the Boston Mill Visitor Center.
A fellow visitor asked if we wanted her to take our picture.
I said yes and thank you.
the Boston Mill Visitor Center

The original function of the Boston Mill Visitor Center building was a general store that was constructed in 1905 for the Cleveland-Akron Bag Company.

The new visitor center opened on October 25, 2019. The Boston Mill Visitor Center serves as a central, one-stop resource for visitors to plan their journeys in the national park and Ohio & Erie Canalway. The visitor center includes the main visitor center building (displayed above) and two smaller buildings nearby, which serve as public restrooms and office space. An outdoor pavilion and courtyard provide visitors with park information and resources 24/7, while indoor exhibits orient visitors to the park and its geography, natural resources, history, and surrounding areas.

The Boston Mill Station is located near the visitor center. We watched the 11:45am train arrive and leave the train station.

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad Train approaching Boston Mill Station
Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad Train at Boston Mill Station
Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad Train departs Boston Mill Station

We see this train often, when in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. So far we have not ridden the train. Some day we hope to ride the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad Train on its National Park Scenic Excursion.

We ate lunch at Fisher’s Cafe and Pub in Peninsula. It was our first time eating there. We have passed by this restaurant many times, while on other trips to this area. I always thought we should eat there sometime. “Sometime” was today. Bob ordered a Yellow Fin Wrap (Medium Rare Caribbean & Cajun Seasoned Yellow Fin Tuna, Wrapped with Romaine Lettuce. Thai Rice, Kung Fu Teriyaki Sauce on the Side) with potato salad. I ordered beer-battered fish and potato salad. Our meals were delicious and filling; our waitress was attentive.

Please return for a blog post about our visit to Brandywine Falls, also on Day 3 of our Ohio vacation. I hope to publish that blog post tomorrow.

Pymatuning Day Trip

This past Saturday (June 19th) Bob suggested that we drive to Pymatuning State Park. A change of scenery appealed to me.

The highlight of our visit to Pymatuning was seeing the Pymatuning Dam and the area near the dam.

Pymatuning State Park Dam and its Environ

Pymatuning Dam is located at the southern end of Pymatuning Reservoir. We have visited Pymatuning several times. This was our first visit to the dam and its surrounding area.

Our first stop was at Shenango River. We crossed over Pymatuning Dam via Dam Road. We turned right onto Water Trail Drive, which led us to the Shenango River.

Pymatuning State Park – Shenango River
We saw this great blue heron on the opposite side of the river.
We noticed a trail that appeared close to where the heron was located.
We walked over the pedestrian bridge to reach Sugar Creek Run Trail.
It was a short walk to where the great blue heron was perched.
I managed to capture this picture, through the foliage,
before the great blue heron took off.

Our second stop was on the reservoir side of the dam. We backtracked and drove back over the dam. We pulled into the parking lot for pavilion shelter #3.

Pymatuning State Park
the Dam Gatehouse, as seen from Pavilion Shelter #3 grounds

We, then, drove back across the dam but only half way. We parked across from the Dam Gatehouse.

Pymatuning State Park – Dam Gatehouse

According to signage at the site, the “castle-like stone gatehouse allows water flow through the dam. Water enters the gatehouse through a 20-foot-wide diversion channel and travels 280 feet to the outflow conduits.”

Entry to the Dam Gatehouse was barred.
Dam Gatehouse

We walked back across Dam Road and visited the outflow area.

Pymatuning Dam Outflow
Pymatuning Dam Outflow.
We walked down two staircases to get closer to the outflow.

The Pymatuning Dam Outflow forms the Shenango River.

Leaving Pymatuning Dam and its environ our next stop was at the Linesville Spillway, where we saw lots of carp, ducks and geese.

The Geese, Ducks and Carp are fed bread at the spillway.
Pymatuning State Park – the Spillway
You can’t see the Spillway in this picture. We are walking toward the Spillway.
Geese, Ducks and Carp at Pymatuning Spillway
The Spillway, which you can’t see, is behind us.
We are walking back to our car.

It is said that ducks walk on carp at the Spillway, but we didn’t see that.

Leaving Pymatuning State Park in our rearview mirror, our next stop was for lunch in Spartansburg. We ate lunch at the Dutch Treat Restaurant.

This is the Dutch Treat Restaurant.

Bob had an egg sandwich with French fries and coleslaw. I had a BLT sandwich with French fries and applesauce. Our meals were delicious. Service was OK. It would have been better, if Bob had gotten the lunch he ordered–a steak salad. Bob should have been tipped off, when the waitress asked if Bob wanted coleslaw. A salad has a coleslaw side??? I did notice that the waitress was hard of hearing AND she was tired–overworked from lack of help. Bob decided to let it go. He saved $8.00 on our lunch price. The egg salad sandwich was a lot less expensive than the steak salad.

After lunch, we walked across the parking lot to Clear Lake.

On our way to Clear Lake we saw a white goose.
We checked out Clear Lake from a small bridge that crosses over the lake.

We returned home, after lunch. It was a good day, even with the rain that came in the afternoon.

Easter Vacation 2021 Day 5 – Oriole MD

This is our sixth vacation spent in Chincoteague, VA since 2015. Our main activities during vacation include photographing wild ponies and water birds at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia, photographing wild ponies at Assateague Island, MD, and visiting the Assateague Island National Seashore in both Virginia and Maryland. We have ridden our bicycles at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and walked trails in both the refuge and at Assateague Island, MD. Today we decided to spread our wings a bit and visit another nearby locale. This morning we drove to Oriole, MD in search of a historic landmark that I had read about on the Internet.

Located at the intersection of the Champ and Oriole roads is the St. James Methodist Episcopal Church. According to the Registration Form for National Register of Historic Places, the church “is one of eighteen historic African- American churches recorded on the Somerset County inventory, and it is architecturally important as one of the most original with relatively intact exterior and interior finishes. Unlike most of the other churches in this group, St. James has not been used since the mid 1960s, thereby freeing it from many of the modern alterations that have been made to other churches for comfort or low maintenance concerns. The building has not been altered to any significant degree since the turn of the twentieth century and it is a rare, relatively intact survivor of late nineteenth century religious architecture as embraced by rural black congregations in Somerset County.

The St. James Methodist Episcopal Church was built in 1885. According to the African American Registry, “the church community was comprised of free Blacks, freed slaves and watermen … Over time, the congregation gradually disbanded and became too small to maintain the facility and, soon, the building was abandoned and eventually fell into poor condition.

This video was published on YouTube in May 2011, before St. James Methodist Episcopal Church was restored. There are many exterior and interior photographs contained within the video, along with personal recollections of the church.

The church is being restored through the efforts of the Oriole Historical Society.

St. James Methodist Episcopal Church, as it stands today.

Located across Champ Road is a nineteenth-century graveyard, with above grave markers.

St. James Methodist Episcopal Church Cemetery

Because of the high water table, graves cannot be dug to the standard depth.

A Sunny Day Drive

Bob and I went for a drive on the afternoon of February 4th.  We drove around the Allegheny Reservoir and through Allegany State Park near Salamanca, NY. 

We stopped at Science Lake.  

Science Lake at Allegany State Park. Look at that beautiful blue sky and the piles of snow.

On the way home Bob said he wanted to go to Washington Park.  I didn’t want to go to Washington Park because I didn’t want to risk getting stuck in the snow.  The narrow, rutted and gravel entry road is not maintained in the winter.  Bob took us there anyway.  

View of Warren from Washington Park

Bob took this picture of me at Washington Park

This is a dash cam video of our drive to and from Washington Park.  Bob edited the video to add music and a few still images.

I am glad Bob didn’t listen to me (this time LOL).  We didn’t get stuck, and the view of Warren from the park was splendid!

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